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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

ALEXANDER VON   HT3MBOLBT.                163
lection, of infinite materials,, induces that highest phase
of natural enjoyment, worthy of a reflecting man ; it
enlarges and ennobles raind and heart, it awakes joys
of a higher intelligence, and leads to a comprehension
of the divine.    Every law of nature points to a higher,
xmrevealed one;   with increasing knowledge the sense
of   infinity   increases  in   the  intelligent  mind,   and
Humboldt   says,   truly,    the   assertion   that   natural
studies  destroy natural  pleasures, can only proceed
from ignorance,  or a sentimental obstruction of the
mind.      He adds, indeed, that   powers, in the real
sense   of the word,  only then work  mysteriously in
the obscurity of a mysterious force, when their work-
ing lies beyond the reach of universally known con-
ditions of nature.     The astronomer,  who determines
the diameter of a planet with the heliometer, or the
Iceland crystal, who measures for years the meridian
height of the same star, who discovers telescopic comets
between crowds of nebulae,  does not, fortunately for
the scientific result of his laboxirs, feel his imagination
excited any more than the descriptive botanist, while
he counts the petals of the calyxy or the stamina of a,
flower, or investigates the simple or double, the free or
the annularly complicated teeth of the seed capsule.
But the measuring and discovery of numerical pro-
portions, the  careful observation of single parts, pre-
pares for a better knowledge of nature in its entirety,
aaid of the organic laws.     The* heavens and the fertile
covering of earth, must, certainly, seem a more mag-
nificent  sight to  the natural philosopher, who, like
Thomas Young, Azago,  and Fresnel,   measures  the
irregular long  streams  of   light,  dirainishing  or in-
creasing in the distance; to the astronomer, who-, by
means of a space-annihilating telescope, examines the
moons   of  Uranus   at   the   extremity  of  our  sokyr
system, or, like Herschel, South, and Struve, dissolves
masses of light into double stars; or, to the initiated
eye of the botanist, who recognises the circulation of
the sap seen in the Gharaplants, in nearly all vege-
table cellular forms, and who perceives the unity of
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